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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

January 15, 2016 EPA Knew About Michigan Water Contamination For Months Without Telling The Public

Source: Daily Caller

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top Midwest official knew about the Flint, Michigan drinking water crisis of 2015 months before telling the public, according to a Tuesday report by the The Detroit News.

January 14, 2016 Flint learns of Legionnaires' disease spike as water crisis continues

Source: CNN

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the number of cases of Legionnaires' disease has spiked in Genesee County in the two years since Flint switched its water supply from the Great Lakes to the Flint River.

January 13, 2016 Scientists just found an unexpected factor that could be driving Greenland’s ice loss

Source: Washington Post

While changes in air temperature, water temperature and precipitation are known to influence melting events on the ice sheet, a new study has identified another, perhaps less obvious culprit: clouds.

January 12, 2016 Bottle bans backfire, promote sustainability instead

Source: The Alestle

Dozens of universities, including the University of Vermont and Western Washington University, have put an end to the sale of bottled water on their campuses in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

January 11, 2016 Teams to Take Bottled Water, Other Resources to Flint Homes

Source: ABC News

? Share ? Tweet Email ? Email Michigan State Police and other state employees will go door-to-door in Flint handing out bottled water, water testing kits and other resources to families affected by the...

January 5, 2016 Weather, war threaten to leave millions more hungry in 2016 – aid agencies

Source: Reuters

Millions more people globally are facing the threat of severe food and water shortages in early 2016 as droughts and flood devastate crops and strain a humanitarian system already struggling to meet needs, aid agencies warned.

January 5, 2016 Is fracking causing Oklahoma's record earthquakes?

Source: CBS Evening News

OKLAHOMA-- After a swarm of small earthquakes in Oklahoma, the state ordered oil drillers on Monday to reduce the amount of waste water they inject into the ground during the process known as fracking

January 4, 2016 First in series of storms forecast for Southland (CA) expected to hit overnight

Source: LA Times

A series of El Niño-related rain and snow storms were expected to begin late Sunday night and could last all the way into next weekend

December 30, 2015 Storm Brings Chaos to U.K. as North Braces for More Flooding

Source: Bloomberg

Another storm battered the north and west of the U.K., causing chaos to transportation and leaving thousands of people without electricity or facing more flooding in what’s been the wettest December on record for parts of the...

December 30, 2015 Northern part of Great Salt Lake hits historic low level

Source: Washington Post

SALT LAKE CITY — Drought has caused water levels in the northern portion of Utah’s Great Salt Lake to drop to a historic low for the second year in a row, according to state and federal officials.

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